No confidence in South Australia’ s Nuclear Royal Commission process

Ludlam-in-SenateSubmission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, by Senator Scott Ludlam 

Extract The Australian Greens have cautiously welcomed the idea of a Royal Commission to settle the issue of the nuclear industry in Australia once and for all.

For decades there have been the protagonists for and against the industry. There have been reports and case studies, public debates, political debates but nuclear power always comes up as unfeasible and hugely unpopular.

It is disappointing that this opportunity to examine the industry has been designed to exclude so many important issues and many voices on those issues. The process, independence and good fa ith of the Royal Commission has been damaged by narrow terms of reference, an unbalanced expert panel and consultation failures in remote and regional communities.

The terms of reference have been designed to exclude any review of the existing problems with uranium mining and waste management, the ongoing costs and liabilities from closed mines and processing facilities- costs that are left to the tax-payer.

The panel is in no way independent or balanced; it has been dominated by the nuclear industry and their advocates. We note complaints from Aboriginal communities in South Australia about the first round of ·engagement. Many people did not know about hearings or had limited warning about hearings. Others have not been given access to documents and or do not have access to the Internet, or do not speak English. We have had reports that hearings have been held in pubs at 11am – completely inappropriate for working people, and those who wouldn’t set foot in a pub.

There have been significant barriers put up for people in remote and regional communities. Inaccessible meetings and information, language barriers and the added constraint of getting submissions approved by a justice of the Peace all serve to exclude participation in the process. People in remote areas of SA have been most affected by South Australia’s involvement in the nuclear industry, and they are also the ones who are most likely to be affected by any future industrial nuclear activities. We are at a point where is a crisis of confidence in the process…..”

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